2021 Mid-Year Update

Life

*UPDATED TO ADD*
I wanted to create a quick addition to the start of this post to say that I am beyond humbled and so appreciative of all your amazingly kind, supporting, encouraging, and loving comments below. You’ve touched my heart in ways that words cannot explain. When I wrote this post, I didn’t expect such a response or outpouring of love. In fact, I was feeling bad about not being as active with my postings lately and just wanted to explain and apologize. You have overwhelmed, encouraged, and inspired me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s to many more years of Inspired by Charm and this beautiful community.

 

Friends, how is 2021 treating you? I can’t believe we are almost halfway through the year. As I grow older, time seems to just go faster and faster. Does anyone else feel this way?

Given that we are at this point in the year, I thought it would be a good time to check in with you, share a little update, talk about the year, and chat about what’s on the horizon.

While there is nothing major happening, I’m always a bit hesitant to share these more “personal” posts. So much has changed in blogging over the past five years or so that posts like this seem almost taboo. However, I’ve felt the tug to write a little update, so here I go.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

A QUIET 2021:

If you follow the blog closely you may have noticed that things have slowed down somewhat dramatically after a very busy holiday season. This year’s gas felt really different. I assume it’s the combination of the dumpster fire that was 2020 and just feeling what I’ve determined to be a need to pivot.

“The need to pivot.”

I came across the following thought in a meme and it just hit a nerve of truth for me: “I want you to stop confusing exhaustion with unfulfillment. You aren’t tired, you’re unfulfilled. Give yourself permission to pivot.”

I have been blogging since 2009 and it has been my full-time job since 2013. While lots of changes have happened in that time period, twelve years is still a long time to be doing relatively the “same thing.” Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful for my job and still generally love what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else, nor do I want to do anything else. I suppose the blogging just feels a bit mundane on occasion.

2021 has just brought on this feeling of being tired/exhausted. This feeling has left me uninspired and unmotivated. At first, I just assumed that my creativity well had just dried up, or that maybe I had lost my talents, or that maybe I was just plain old lost. But what I’m learning is that maybe I’m not tired. Maybe I just need to pivot. I need something to be overly passionate about again.

The behind-the-scenes of blogging has become A LOT. It’s simply not enough to create a project/recipe, photograph it, and then share it. There are dozens of algorithms to keep up with just to be seen. There are dozens of “requirements” that Google puts into place that constantly change. These requirements need to be met, maintained, and constantly adjusted in order to be seen. And don’t get me started on social media. If you’re not outperforming yourself or putting on a grand show with every post, you basically don’t exist. Plus, you also “need to” create an Instagram Story, Timelapse, Pinterest Story, Google Story, IG Reel, and YouTube video about it. Say what!?

I love what I do, but because of all of these external “requirements,” a simple blog post seems like a heavy task rather than a simple joy.

I’m also trying to avoid comparison. As I mentioned above, blogging has changed so much. Many bloggers now have teams of people working for them. They have teams of people … assistants, people that write their posts, photographers, content managers, SEO experts, social media managers, videographers, and the list goes on. (And there’s nothing wrong with that approach. These folks are killing it and I love watching their businesses grow.)

Here at Inspired by Charm, it’s just me for the most part. I do have someone that edits my posts for grammar and spelling, and I have an amazing couple that has been filming videos for my recipe posts. (I’ve been adding those to my blog posts, YouTube Channel, and IGTV.) These people have been such a blessing to my business.

Some days I welcome the excitement and drive to keep moving forward and to become better than I was the day before, but other times I’m just annoyed and frustrated as I didn’t sign up for all of the “extras” that I just mentioned. I don’t want to be the CEO of some online media empire. I don’t want to be a manager of a team of people. I just want to live in my own space while creating, sharing, and inspiring.

It’s interesting too because I’ve noticed that a lot of my favorite bloggers and Instagrammers have talked about the same thing in one way or another. Some have stepped away completely. Others are taking the summer off. Others have made shifts in how or what type of content they are producing. Being aware of these situations has been so comforting. It makes me feel a little less crazy knowing that others are feeling the same way.

And I don’t say all of this to complain. I feel happy. I feel blessed. I feel a sense of purpose in that this is what I should be doing with my life. I suppose it’s just a reminder to be a little kinder to myself, do what I can, and not compare what one person can do to that of what a team of 6 can do.

While I’m generally pretty hard on myself, I’m trying to remind myself that this is just one of those ebbs in life that we all have. Thankfully ebbs don’t last forever. I’ll be chugging along on my flow in no time!

So how do I pivot? That’s my challenge because I haven’t figured that out yet! Ha! To be honest, I think a big part of it is just changing how I see and respond to things. It’s simply about showing up, doing my best every day. meeting the requirements I can, forgetting the rest, and then being at peace with it all. “We can do anything, but we can’t do everything.”

In a nutshell, that’s the long and short of where I’ve been at these days … physically and mentally. I think 2021 is just a year to be a bit quieter. A year to pause and reflect… and that’s okay.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

OTHER THINGS I’VE BEEN DOING:

Phew! With that chunk of information out of the way, I thought I would share some of the other things I’ve been up to for the first half of the year.

While this isn’t everything, these are some of the most notable things:

Crate and Barrel Collaboration: If you missed it at the end of last month, I shared a post about my side porch and fire pit area in collaboration with Crate and Barrel. (You can find that HERE if you did miss it.) This has honestly been the highlight of my year. As mentioned above, I’ve been blogging for 12 years and Crate and Barrel has been the one brand I’ve dreamed of working with. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity.

There’s even a dedicated page to my design and product selections on their website. I didn’t even know that this was going to happen. I was filled with so much excitement and gratitude when they shared the link on their Facebook page.

 

Firepit Landscaping Makeover: The aforementioned collaboration motivated me to tackle another project on my list … a makeover of my backyard fire pit area. I’ve been sharing the progress on my Instagram feed. (There is a saved IG Highlights if you missed it.) The project turned out better than I expected. I love having this little oasis in my own backyard.

I will be sharing more about this on the blog VERY soon. I’m just waiting for a few more plants. Once they arrive and I get them into the ground, I will do a full post about the update.

 

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

Gardening: This spring I was really busy outside. I planted over 60 perennials plus a few new trees and shrubs. And that’s in addition to the 70+ plants I added to the landscaping around my fire pit.

Gardening is a labor of love. And while the fruits of this labor will take a couple of years to fill out and unfold, I was so happy to make such great progress.

 

My Art Practice: I’ve shared a couple of posts about this on the blog (here and here), but 2021 has been a year where I dove headfirst back into my art practice. It couldn’t have come at a better time as this has been a nice mini pivot for me and something I’ve really been enjoying.

I signed up for three local in-person art courses. One was an introduction to painting which has been completed. Currently, I’m in an oil painting class where the students work on whatever project they choose and the instructor provides guidance. I LOVE the instructor and students, so this has been wonderful. This particular course will end this week and then the following week I will start a new course focusing on painting Pittsburgh landscapes en plein air. Plein air essentially means painting outside. The class will meet every week at a new outdoor location and we’ll paint outside from life. I’m especially excited about this class!

Art has brought me so much joy and peace this year; I really want to dive deeper into it. I have been trying to make art a daily habit. And while I’m not quite there, I have been painting or drawing as much as possible.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

WHAT’S AHEAD:

While 2021 has brought a more relaxed blogging and working schedule, I’m not just sitting around in my PJs. I do have some fun projects in the works. I’ll be sharing more about each of these as they come to life, but here’s a little sneak peek.

Retaining Wall: When it fits into my budget, my goal is to tackle one large project each year. Two years ago it was my kitchen makeover, last year it was custom cabinetry for my entryway and living room, and this year it’s a 100 ft. two-tiered retaining wall in my backyard.

This project will happen in September, but I spent a lot of time figuring out the plan and finding the best contractors. Once this project is complete, it will open the doors to allow me to add even more to my backyard including a shed, garden, outdoor oven, etc. I can’t wait!

 

Bedroom Updates: I have two bedrooms in my house that have mostly gone untouched since I moved in. While they don’t require major renovations, I want to give them some sort of style direction. One room will get painted, the other room will receive wallpaper, and both will get new light fixtures and furnishings.

The goal is just to have these spaces feel more complete and intentional.

 

Basement Studio: This might be the project I’m most excited about. I’ve never shared my basement online before. It’s not that it’s all that bad, it’s just an awkward space with bad lighting.

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to turn my basement into a little creative studio. (I’ve been doing my art out of a small section of a bedroom and it just isn’t cutting it.) Well, I’m finally going to do it! I will obviously take you along on the journey (before photos coming soon!) and share my plans and process.

In a nutshell, here’s what needs to be done:
– update lighting
– repair and paint paneling (walls)
– new flooring
– furnish and style
– update doors and windows

While this isn’t a major renovation, there is still a lot to be done. I’m hoping to tackle some of the projects myself, I’m also bringing in some folks to do the projects that are beyond my skill/knowledge level. Thankfully I have some great folks lined up so the project should be underway soon.

With all of these design projects, my current plan is to take my time with them. While I’m anxious to get them completed (especially the basement studio), I’m in no rush.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

Art Practice: As I mentioned above, my art practice is currently a big focus for me. My goal is to be able to do one painting each day. As I’ve watched and listened to other artists talk about their evolution and practice. the one thing I heard, again and again, is how important and helpful it was for them to paint every day.

I’m still working on developing my style and trying to figure out what medium and subjects I like best. Once I feel more confident and have a clear direction, I would love to be able to create a collection and offer some work for sale. I’ve been so surprised at how many folks have asked about purchasing some of my art. I would love to make this a reality.

 

More of What You Love About IBC: I also plan to bring you more of what you love. While I’m not going anywhere and updates will continue to be here on the blog and on Instagram, I suspect that things will be slow and quiet for the rest of the summer and things will ramp up around August. But who knows, that could change! I’m trying to let 2021 unfold as it would like. No pressure. I hope you’ll stick with me.

… I think that’s enough for the year, right?

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

THAT’S A WRAP:

So that was a lot. Haha. I think I should wrap things up here.

While I knew this post would be informative, I didn’t realize how long it would be until my fingers hit the keyboard. I hope that this was insightful, informative, and gave you a little look at how I’ve been spending my days.

If you’ve gotten this far in this post, congratulations, and thank you for sticking with me. Now, this is the point where I’ll ask you what you’d like to see here. And while I always appreciate the typical responses of “more of the same, recipes, keep doing what you’re doing,” etc., I’d really love to know what your soul is craving more of when you come online. What brings you here? Also, when you leave this space, what left you feeling happy and inspired. What improved your day, your home, your life. Let me know in the comments below. Thank you!

Until next time, my friends!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that inspiredbycharm.com receives a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and other sites at no cost to the readers.

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Comments

  • Bridget Weed at

    You’re stuck with us! We’re not going anywhere!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      This makes me happy to hear. Thank you!

      xo Michael

  • Vv at

    Thank you for sharing with us. We appreciate your honesty. I enjoy and look forward to receiving your blog. Your design ideas and recipes are terrific.
    Whatever you decide we are with you 100%. Michael, you have to remember you need to look out for yourself.
    Keep well in these unprecedented times
    V

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      So true! Thank you so much!

      xo Michael

  • Vickie White at

    I enjoy your blog and Instagram! I can hardly wait until you are ready to part with some of those beautiful paintings!! I hope I am lucky enough to purchase one! Thank you for such beautiful content!

  • Dawn Crader at

    Michael I do love what you share. Your paint has been fun to watch as well as all of your outdoor projects. I love when you share recipes and I appreciate how light hearted your posts leave me feeling. Thanks for sharing!

  • Amy K at

    I’ve been following you for a number of years now and you are still in my top 3 accounts to follow. Posts like this one make you real. It’s the fact that you are so genuine that makes me want to see what you’re up to every single day. Knowing that what you present in these squares is attainable for me keeps me interested. The projects you have planned sound wonderful and I can’t wait to see what you do next. But honestly if your post for the day says “I’m pooped and just want to snuggle with my cats”. I’ll be totally happy cuz that’s real life my friend. I’ll be over here doin the same.

  • Amy at

    I loved reading your update, and I can completely relate! Your blogs and your work are always a joy to read and watch. I think you’re incredibly talented, my friend!

    Enjoy your summer! Lots of exciting things to come!

  • Muriel at

    Love your blog. I appreciate the personal, homey feel it has, and you being you! I always enjoy your posts about thrifting and the ways you style accessories in your home. I will be excited to see what you do with your bedrooms, and have enjoyed seeing what you are painting. You are very talented in many ways!

  • Nancy Shaw at

    I’m in agreement with those who say “don’t change a thing” and “be true to yourself”. You make things so interesting—a little antique here, an amazing recipe there, ideas for our homes, and voila our homes now have a “touch of class” like yours. Your blog is inviting. You’ve become a friend, an inspiration. The things you share are attainable and within reach. And those cats, I love watching them and how they’ve become a part of your family and your home. Too many times businesses and restaurants expand and loss what made them successful. We like you just the way you are and have been!❤️❤️❤️

  • Gail at

    Michael your idea of a slow year is more than many of us get accomplished in five years! 😂. I I honestly have been enjoying your short Instagram stories just showing what you are up to that day whether it is gardening, baking, painting, antiquing or making a pretty flower arrangement. I also like some of the inspirational quotes you post and the funny posts on Facebook. Your social media feels “homey”, relatable and vulnerable. It sounds like you are in a season of introspection to understand what truly makes you happy and authentic and that is always a good thing. Your work will always be right for the right people.

  • Mary D at

    Hi Michael, I can honestly say, your content is my favorite! I enjoy how authentic and relatable you are! I’ve made quite a few of your recipes with much success. A few of your cookies will certainly be on my son’s Pittsburgh wedding cookie table this fall.
    As an avid flower gardener, really enjoying that subject and my hanging baskets were inspired by yours this year. (Excited for the landscaping project)
    Love your antique hunts and styling tips and actually visit your favorites!
    Looking forward to seeing your new art and hoping someday prints will be available.
    Wishing you success but selfishly hoping things don’t change too much! 🙂

  • Brenda BM at

    Michael, your posts are the ones I love seeing on the multiple platforms I follow you on. Scrolling
    through and seeing something you made, something you suggest, something totally awe-inspiring you
    come up with on a whim is what makes me smile every time I see them! Thank you for putting into perspective, the notion of “…confusing exhaustion with unfulfillment. You aren’t tired, you’re unfulfilled. Give yourself permission to pivot.” As talentless as I am when it comes to art (I don’t know where my children get it from :D) your recent focus on your art has me thinking it’s something I just might investigate as well! There’ll be my pivot point due to your inspiration! Your projects span a wide variety of interesting and motivational topics so I’m sure I’m not alone amongst your followers and fans who can’t wait to see what your “end-of-year-update” brings – nothing short of amazing!

  • Deborah P at

    I love the garden posts, especially the process – showing the before, the plans and then in progress before the final completion. Also love your taking us along on your Home Goods and antiquing trips. I’d like to see a trip to Piscarik (sp?) flowers to see how you choose what you buy and then the arrangements you make with them. And definitely the home decor posts. And your paintings. So, pretty much everything. 😊

  • Kristin at

    Michael,

    I’m glad I took the time to click through and read your post. Of course I’m always up for a little more of the personal side of people that I follow on IG. I totally get the frustration with how the media outlets work for those who blog and are on IG. I see the same thing, people who are killing it on IG are doing the biggest and best projects. In my mind it’s all a show. I’m here for people who are real. I feel like the projects you’re attacking in your home are ones that are meant for you. And I love being along for the ride. I love following along with your outdoor renovations, your gardening, and your painting journey! I’m glad to hear that you’re embracing and pivoting and doing what you feel is best for you. And not succumbing to what algorithms, numbers, and the IG world expects. You’ve been doing this an extraordinarily long time! I give all the props to you and others who have been around for well over 10 years. Wishing you peace in the choices you make as you pivot through this year. 😉

  • Elaine at

    Do and share what makes you happy cause then its shines thru brightly and then we are happy and inspired. Loved are your gardening videos and always A joy to see your fur family.

  • Marla at

    I love it that your posts are “real,” Michael. Life isn’t perfect even though it looks that Way on many blogs and Instagram. You encourage us to try new things and work towards living our best lives. I am constantly inspired by all your talents and thanks for sharing them with us.

  • Linda at

    I enjoy your posts over other larger accounts because your tips are attainable and realistic, it’s hard to relate to the accounts with massive homes, extravagant decor and gardens that are over the top. Have you considered doing a simple give away each month to the followers that “like” all your posts? I know others do that to keep their posts from being hidden!

  • Beatriz at

    I’m a long time follower. I’ve always loved all your home decor projects and the big reveals, but I also appreciate you sharing your day-to-day posts. I love seeing your antique finds and how you styled them in your home, I enjoy seeing the beautiful pictures of your fresh flower arrangements, your painting adventures, your garden updates, and really anything that you are passionate about. As exciting and gorgeous as the big reveals are, I always feel inspired by your “quick” posts. I get to see glimpses of the gradual growth of the beautiful home you are creating inside and out. I’m sure being a blogger is hard work and I’m so grateful you choose to share all that you do. Thank you!!

  • Shaunna at

    Love this! I totally feel all of it, and keep trying to stay in this place of pivoting/blinders on. So proud of you for recognizing it & allowing it. 😊

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      That’s the goal, friend! Thank you for your help, support, and encouragement along the way!

      xo Michael

  • Lisa at

    All the best in finding that fulfillment that we are all in search of. It’s been a challenging year and half.

    Please don’t feel the need to keep up with these other bloggers. Truthfully I’ve grown tired of the ones that have become huge and have these ‘teams’, they are the ones on IG that I tend to swipe past.

    You’ve a wonderful blog and IG account, I truly enjoy following along. I hope you find some fulfillment and enjoyment in the weeks and months ahead.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I so appreciate this, Lisa. Thank you!

      xo Michael

    • SoCalLynn at

      I agree! I still love the blogs and IG accounts that are smaller, less corporate-y. Michael, your blog has been a favorite of mine for years. You are personable and relatable. Your design are inspirational, and your recipes! Some have become family favorites. Just be you!

      • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

        Thank you! Thank you!

        xo Michael

      • Katherine at

        I couldn’t have said it better than both of these comments! It’s become oddly overwhelming to see how some accounts have become such a production. It makes sense, like you said, but being organic and genuinely relatable as a person, not a business, was kind of the whole point – and having a team of people to do the stuff for you is just none of those things. It’s been a strange and gradual feeling to notice from this side, too. It’s an information overload with an unfathomable number of sources competing for attention. I’ve found myself gravitating to blogs like this one, which I have loved since I had 2 Pinterest boards in 2012. The content you make is still great because it is truly still organic and relatable, like this post. It’s a rare find these days. You are doing great! We are all just seeking peace this year. Thanks for letting us in along the way!

      • Laurie shoaf at

        Well said. I feel the same. You are personal, relatable and authentic. Please don’t change in an effort to keep up with other bloggers. I love your art and am thrilled you have rekindled your interest in painting.

    • Colette at

      I agree! I always say you do you! We can’t possibly keep up with all the Joneses of the world. I love all that you do. I love that your finding yourself through forgotten talents. Keep at it!

      • Marijka at

        I NEVER comment ….. but your blog today and these comments above rang true: I love your blog as it is. You provide soooo much. Keep it simple may be a motto more of us need to follow. Your blog is great! Stay true to yourself!

  • Mary P Johnson at

    I am fairly new to your blog and instagram. I have really enjoyed all your content, especially your makeovers of the rooms. I also like your garden make overs. You show the details, how many plants, the names and the places you bought other items. Your get me motivated and out of a rut to try something new. Your projects also feel like they are something that I can afford and are not so over the top that I wouldn’t even try. I would also like to buy some of your paintings if your sell them someday.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      So happy to have you here, Mary. Thank you so much for all of your kindness.

      xo Michael

      • carla mccarron at

        Just wanted tp say I love your blog! You have inspired me many times!!

    • Mel at

      I just found your blog & IG several months ago. I’ve enjoyed all your posts; decor, recipes, thrift finds, etc…. 2020 was beyond rough, that’s for sure. You’d think all the home projects I started would be finished by now, nope! I’m fortunate to be working a hybrid schedule since March ‘20 and it’s sounding like it will be permanent (fingers crossed). My mental & physical health is better. I’m still unfulfilled by my job, but this new way allows me more time to try to figure out what makes me happy. I’m still a work in progress. 2021 hasn’t been as good as I had hoped (family illness & drama) but I’ve found ways to make my home a safe, cozy, inviting haven. So many things I still want to do and find out what I’m actually good at.
      Whatever you share, I enjoy and gives me hope for brighter and more creative days ahead!

    • Karen at

      Michael – you are my absolute favorite to follow!
      Love your:
      styling tips
      Antiquing
      Updates on your house
      Seasonal decor ideas
      Recipes I will one day find time to make! 😃
      Your kindness, friendliness, humility

      • Susan Lindeman at

        Ditto everything Karen said! I have stopped following many blogs this year – so many just seem repetitive and competitive, everyone just trying to outdo the other. I’m bored with the lack of colors – white, grey and black farmhouse industrial – just doesn’t interest me anymore. I’ve followed you for years and I love your style! Retro, vintage, colorful, great recipes and entertaining, and always cocktails! And congratulations on your wonderful dive into art – love what I’ve seen! I’ll be sticking around as long as you keep blogging 🙂 ♥

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